Friday, April 08, 2016

Jude 4: τὸν μόνον δεσπότην καὶ κύριον ἡμῶν

In Jude 4, we read that Jesus Christ (I am aware of variant readings and interpretations) is "our only Owner and Lord" (τὸν μόνον δεσπότην καὶ κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν ).

If Jesus is the only referent discussed in this passage, then Jude's use of "only" may prima facie be slightly problematic since (as subordinationists generally understand the matter) Jesus is not the "only" Lord (strictly speaking) for Christians.

Assuming a subordinationist understanding of matters, I would like to ask whether the word "only" excludes others from serving as lords for Christian followers of Jesus. In other words, does μόνον have to mean that there is no other Lord for the Christian congregation but Jesus Christ? The question is understandable in light of what Revelation 15:4 says about God:

τίς οὐ μὴ φοβηθῇ, κύριε, καὶ δοξάσει τὸ ὄνομά σου, ὅτι μόνος ὅσιος

Yet we also read that an "overseer" (τὸν ἐπίσκοπον) must be ὅσιον (Tit 1:8). Furthermore, Christians are exhorted to lift up "holy hands" (ὁσίους χεῖρας) in prayer to God (1 Ti 2:8).

So the doxological exclamation μόνος ὅσιος (in Rev 15:4) does not mean that others cannot be ὅσιος or live ἐν ὁσιότητι καὶ δικαιοσύνῃ ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ (Luke 1:75). In fact, we are called to be holy as God is holy.

For the record, one dictionary defines the English word "only" in this way (obviously depending on the context):

"unquestionably the best--PEERLESS; alone in its class
or kind: SOLE "

So is Christ the only Lord for Christians? Not according to Psalm 110:1-2 and Acts 2:36. The latter verse teaches that God the Father made Christ the Lord of Christians, but the Father is the ultimate Lord (LORD) of all. The KJV renders the Hebrew letters YHWH (Yahweh or Jehovah) as LORD in Psalm 110:1 and throughout the Hebrew Bible.


James said...

Maybe: God gives the "church" to Jesus thus in that sense the Only Owner & Lord of the anointed. Vs 25 has God as Savior through Jesus (most versions) thus arguably two Lords. KJV and others per Bible Gateway pickup on the variants. An interesting question but I don't think Trinitarians at least the ones I have spoken to claim God (the Father) is not in some way the Lord (however that is understood) of Christians, James

Matt13weedhacker said...

Dear Edgar.

I tend to look at it this way.

Jesus is the: "only" Owner (or Master/Lord) that Jehovah has given for us specifically. That's how I see it. He hasn't given, or permitted, any another "owner" or "lord", other than "Jesus".

On the basis of 1st Cor. 15:27, and the rule of the "obvious exception", the Father's Supreme Sovereignty as: "the God ( of )" = not just "the God ( of )" Jesus, but: "the God ( of ) our Lord", there can be no comparison, nor equality, nor is there any "breaking" "violating" "nullifying" John 10.35 of His (the Fathers) Supreme (synonym for: "Most-High" "High-est") "God-ship" Rom. 1.20 or position as the "One God and Father ( of ) all persons, Who is ( over [Or: "above"]) everyone [Or: "every person"]" Eph. 4:6.

Cf. Phil. 2:11 "Lord' to the glory of" = you know the rest.

Kind regards, YB.


Edgar Foster said...

Dear James and Matt13:

I agree with everything you've both written. However, I'll later post one thing that gave impetus to my blog entry. Yes, Jesus has been made Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36) and he has a God or one who is sovereign over him.

Corinthians and Revelation (among other books) teach that we were bought with a price as Christians. The 144,000 have been purchased from the earth or redeemed by the Lord (Rev 5:9-10; 14:1-3). So Jesus is the owner and Lord of his bride. Yet he is Lord (as you wrote, Matt) to the glory of God the Father.